Jānis Bordāns, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice, has given a report to the Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš regarding the achievements during the government chaired by him on prevention of circumstances delaying the duration of court proceeding and planned measures in order to facilitate the speed and quality of court proceedings.
The Minister of Justice Jānis Bordāns emphasizes:
“Within a year we have consequently and purposefully implemented the measures for improvement of efficiency of the activities of courts.
Already during the first year of the government we have strengthened the capacity of the judicial system and made the first inputs for efficiency increase of the judicial system. Upon developing specialisation of judges, we have developed normative regulation on the establishment of the Court of Economic Cases, significant amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law were submitted to the Parliament, in order to make the terms and procedures of the criminal proceedings more efficient, as well as have provided trainings to judges and judicial employees.
Involvement of the State Audit Office has been achieved during assessment of the efficiency of court proceedings and investigation proceedings, commenced by the Ministry of Justice, in order to eliminate the factors having adverse effect on the efficiency of criminal proceedings.”
The most important issues reviewed by the Cabinet of Ministers:
On 12 February 2019
The Minister of Justice J.Bordāns presents to the government the informative report on the assessment of the efficiency of the judicial system
The informative report “On priority directions of action of the Minister of Justice for development of the effective judicial system in order to promote economic growth”.
On 25 June 2019
The MoJ suggests a comprehensive revision in investigation and trial of financial crimes
the Cabinet of Ministers supported the proposal of the Ministry of Justice inviting the State Audit Office to carry out a revision to assess factors affecting effective criminal procedure concerning criminal offences in the field of economics and finances.
On 20 August 2019
The Cabinet of Ministers supported the establishment of the Court of Economic Cases
Significant decision is made on the governmental level, in order to ensure fast and high-quality trial also for complicated cases of economic and financial crimes.
The most important achievements and plans on facilitating the work efficiency of courts during the recent year
1) Work on the establishment of the Court of Economic Cases.
The Ministry of Justice purposefully works on the establishment of the Court of Economic Cases. Normative regulation has been developed and currently the work is performed on proceeding of the amendments to the Law On Judicial Power, as well as Criminal Procedure Law and Civil Procedure Law in the Saeima. Establishment of the Court of Economic Cases is driven towards more effective combating by the Latvian authorities with money laundering, financing of terrorism, as well as significantly broadening the specialisation in the settlement of complicated commercial disputes, in order to promote development of the environment of commercial activities. The specialised court will mean a long-term contribution to the establishment of the economically developed and judicially well-arranged State. It should be emphasized that the court is being established within the framework of the current funding, without establishing any new offices and without creating any additional burden to the State budget, but performing organizational reforms within the framework of the judicial power. The work on development of the training programme for judges and judicial employees, recruitment and education of judges and judicial employees will be continued in 2020. It is planned that the court will start to work on 1 January 2021. See more detailed information about the competence of courts enclosed - Sub-paragraph 2.1.
2) Making the criminal proceeding more efficient.
In 2019 the Ministry of Justice prepared and forwarded to the Legal Committee of the Saeima recommendations for amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law, which are driven towards making the criminal proceeding more efficient. Recommendations were included in the draft law of the Legal Committee “Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law” (No. 427/P 13) and were submitted to the Saeima on 10 October 2019. The above-mentioned draft law was adopted by the Saeima during the 1st reading on 17 October 2019. The Ministry of Justice prepared and submitted to the Saeima recommendations for review before the 2nd reading on 7 November 2019. On 5 February 2020 the draft law was supported by the Legal Committee before review of the Saeima in the 2nd reading. In general, amendments were driven towards more rapid and more efficient investigation and trial of criminal proceedings. See more details about the specific recommendations enclosed - Sub-paragraph 2.2.
3) Settlement of the issue about the load of advocates.
In order to identify the issues existing in the judicial system, the Minister of Justice had bilateral negotiations with all chairpersons of district (city) courts and chairpersons of regional courts in 2019.
In order to settle the above-mentioned issue, amendments were proposed to the Criminal Procedure Law and Advocacy Law, as well as changes were made in the functionality of the calendar for load of advocates at the end of 2019, permitting the advocate himself or herself to deactivate the hearing marked by a court, where his or her participation actually is not necessary, thus making him or her available in the calendar for other court hearings.
4) Balancing between independence and responsibility of the judicial power.
In order to ensure high quality work of the court and the possibility for the judicial power itself to respond to possible non-professionalism of judges and possible breaches in the work organisation of the judge, it is planned by amendments to the Law On Judicial Power to expand the authorities of the chairpersons of courts, providing the right to forward the judge for extraordinary assessment of professional activities, if any circumstances are established, being related to significant shortages in the work organisation of the judge or insufficient professional knowledge of the judge, making obstacles for high quality progress of the court proceeding.
5) Conceptually new selection process for candidates of the office of a judge.
The work is currently continued on the development of the conceptually new process for selection of candidates for the office of a judge, driven towards assessment of competences. The structure of selection examinations, as well as content thereof is reviewed, developing a professional selection process. It is expected that the new procedure will be adopted by the Judicial Council until 1 April 2020 and could be used during the selection process of the candidates for judges of the Court of Economic Cases.
6) Improvement of competences of the officials of courts and law enforcement authorities.
More than 9000 employees of the judicial system have participated in the events of the project “Justice for Development”. Year 2020 is marked with huge intensity of trainings and events, providing training for more than 2000 persons on 80 topics. The above-mentioned project creates a possibility to intensively increase the competence of the officials of the judicial and law enforcement authorities within a medium-term, including by ensuring interdisciplinary training of all persons involved in the directing the proceedings - starting as of the investigator and public prosecutor, and ending with a judge.
7) Support project of the European Commission for Structural Reforms is being implemented.
In 2020 the Ministry of Justice (jointly with the Court Administration and Legal Aid Administration) in cooperation with European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) implements the project, during the course of which the judicial work focused on results and results-based judicial budget will be created. Besides, it is planned to improve the supervision of time periods for trial of cases and management of the judicial work in general, paying special attention to the role of the chairperson of the court for more efficient organisation of the work of court, as well as involvement of each judge and judicial employee in the work of the judicial system focused on fair result. The project will be implemented by 2021.
8) Intensive work is performed on the introduction of the E-case project.
Currently the 1st stage of the e-case programme - improvement of the investigation and court proceeding processes - is continued, which will end up during the 1st quarter of 2021. Full introduction of the e-case is planned by 2023.
9) Public trust to judicial system.
Considering that not only judges, but also advocates, public prosecutors and investigators create the public image of courts, it is important to ensure the quality of work of the prosecutor’s office, sufficient capacity and professionalism of investigative bodies, as well as faultless reputation of the advocacy.
Therefore, the Minister of Justice has invited the Judicial Council to discuss amendments to the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office, in order to change the procedure, according to which the candidate for the office of the Prosecutor General is moved forward. On 16 December 2019 the Judiciary Council supported the majority of recommendations, in order to ensure open and transparent process for selection of the candidate of the Prosecutor General.
Besides, also in the relation to the activities of the advocacy, a solution has been found for the issue of load of advocates, which delayed the progress of court proceedings. Upon reviewing submissions of persons, the Minister of Justice has received information for several times regarding unprofessional activities of certain advocates - in all these cases the minister has requested for action of the Council of Sworn Advocates in accordance with the set procedure.
More detailed information: